Brolio Castle

How to reach

The castle of Brolio is situated in the center of the area of Chianti, which belongs to the province of Siena. It can be reached easily from Siena, following the indications for Castelnuovo Berardenga, or from the exit 'A1 Valdarno', following the statal road (SS) 408.


The castle of Brolio has a Longobard origin, although today only the location of the ancient, small fortress remains. Its role in history began to be remarkable at the beginning of the 12th century, when the powerful feudal family of the Ricasoli from Cacchiano took office on it. Still today, the castle belongs to their descendants.

Its position was always strategic for the control of this area of Chianti, at the edge of the Florentine influence at the borders with the Sienese territory. For this reason, from the 13th century up to the mid-16th century, the castle was often interested in frontier wars. We are in fact in the heart of the Florentine territory of the 'Chianti League' - formed by the 'terzieri' (terzieris) of Radda, Castellina and Gaiole - rich of feudal presence and strongly contended  between the two big cities of Florence and Siena. All the castles of the zone, either Florentine or Sienese, were always strengthened, so much so that two real contrasting defensive lines were created.

The castle was always in the hands of Florence, with the exception of a temporary Sienese occupation after the second Aragonese invasion of  Chianti in 1472. Consequently, at this event, from 1484, when the castle returned to Florentine, began a great work of restructuring and expansion of the fortification to adequate the walls with the new fire weapons, so we can consider Brolio one of the first 'Italian bastionated fortresses'.

Its ramparts, in stone and still today in perfect condition, have an irregular pentagonal plan with a primitive structure if compared with the development that this new form of fortification had in the following years. It is not certain, but it seems that the architect responsible for the work was Giuliano da Sangallo, sharpening his fortificatory art at the service of the Medici.

This bastioned wall encloses the rest of the original medieval castle, including the keep and the Roman Chapel. Over that, a neo-gothic building was built to the place of the preexisting one by Baron Bettino Ricasoli, 1809–1880, a famous political man of the last century, known also as the 'Iron Baron'.

The castle rises at the center of boundless vineyards, from which, since 1141, the Ricasoli have distilled their famous wines, which grow old in the cellars inside the mighty walls of the fortress. Brolio is private property, but it is visible with the exception of the baronial building. Is still possible to complete the walk of the ramparts, from which we can have splendid sights on the Chianti region.